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Seoul and the Future of Transit

South Korea's capital enjoys better stations and more complete coverage from a train system that gets less of its money from government subsidies and charges lower fares.
June 22, 2017, 11am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Public Transit Korea

"[A] typical Seoul subway station is equipped with amenities and an attention to detail unknown to most American cities," Kelly Kasul claims in an article for Mic. The train stations are lively and pleasant, passengers can browse an underground bazaar: flower stands, convenience stores, jewelry kiosks, shoe bins and people in aprons cooking hot street food, such as rice rolls or spicy fish cakes," Kasul reports. But the trains themselves are also more accommodating, easier to navigate and exceptionally comfortable. "The same map is often visualized in different ways, so that even the most hopeless navigator can find their path. And once on the train, passengers are still able to get cell service and Wi-Fi, in addition to enjoying an air-conditioned climate in the summer, heated seats in the winter and a lively jingle that comes on to announce transfer stations," Kasul writes.

High ridership rates for the city's trains means that while the fares are cheaper (about $1.10 one way) than America cities like New York, Chicago, or Boston, the system doesn't need the level of government subsidy that those cities' train systems require.

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